Yes, you read that title right.
Sometimes life is awkward. Like that day with those boots. Or the time I got a key stuck in my nose.
I know, you’re dumbfounded, trying to figure how I could be so—umm—talented. Really, it’s not that hard—even for a teacher who’s supposed to be calm, professional, and all-together.
For the boots, I was at Goodwill, always a great place to check for deals, the perfect way to reuse, reduce, recycle. On this particular day, I perused their shoe section and found a pair of bright orange go-go boots. The really long ones. Now, I’ve never worn such things in my life. By the time I was a teenager, no one would be caught dead in anything from the 70s. Hence the reason recent fashion has me shaking my head in wonder.
But those go-go boots—at Goodwill prices—seemed like the perfect thing to add to my dress-up box for unexpected class presentations, school spirit days, or some crazy skit I’d dream up in the future.
So I reached to snatch them from the top shelf, bending my head to look at the price on the sole. However, like I said, I never wore go-go boots. Never even touched a pair. I didn’t realize that they’re like Weeble-Wobbles.
They have very. heavy. bottoms. And I grabbed them from their tops.
Wham! The boots swung and kicked me. Like a wrecking ball. Leaving me with a giant egg on my forehead.
Ouch. And I don’t just mean my head—because my ego was smarting, too. Please, Lord, don’t let anyone have seen that!
The key-in-the-nose episode? Well, at the time, I wore my keyring on a long, three-twined cord, hanging around my neck. Somehow that was the deciding factor to declare me as a teacher to everyone around. Strangers would stop me in the store. “Are you a teacher?” “Yes, how did you know?” “You wear your keys around your neck.”
Well, while the keys hung on a long cord, it wasn’t long enough to actually use them without pulling the whole set over my head. But it wasn’t something I thought about. Just a quick up-and-over, unlock, and back over-and-down again. No biggie.
Until one day on the up-and-over, it became a biggie.
Somehow, one key wasn’t hanging straight. Instead, it stuck up at an upward angle. But I, of course, didn’t notice. So, when I yanked up, it somehow perfectly launched straight into my nose. Where it stuck. Please, Lord, don’t let anyone have seen that, either!
Thankfully, it only took a quick tug to remove it, but the next thing I knew, I had the red-water-rapids of a nosebleed.
Yes, you can laugh.
I’ve broken my little toes on more than one occasion, intent on getting from here to there and not spotting the bag or book or block strategically left in the walkway.
And once on the way into McDonalds, I didn’t realize the sidewalk was uneven with a large piece cracked off. Put that together with loose flip-flops, and I was a goner. I tripped up, falling against a stone garbage can. That time, two men DID see me. I quickly blew off their concern, sure my ego again hurt more than my body—until I walked through the door and realized that with each step, my foot spewed blood across the ceramic tiles.
The jagged sidewalk did quite a number on my big toe.
Now, why am I telling you this? Well, for one, it probably got you giggling. And if you’re a klutz (like me, apparently), you won’t feel so alone. (Please, don’t leave me hanging. Tell me about your—umm—talented moment.)
If you’re not a klutz, you can pat yourself on the back for your natural grace. (I’m guessing you never slipped on the college sidewalk and slid on your backside all the way down a hundred-yard hill of snow and ice, barreling toward a guy who stood at the bottom gaping at you while a Hispanic gentleman yelled across the way, “Hep da po’ lady! Wha’chou doin’? Hep da po’ lady!” Lucky you.)
Either way, my graceless moments have taught me much about humility. No, I’m not always completely uncoordinated. When my children were babies, I could carry both of my infant twins and still pick up one of my toddlers, all while fixing supper and answering the phone.
But I’ve learned not to hold on to pride.
Because we all know what comes after that. That time at McDs wasn’t the last time I fell and mangled my toe. (Yes, the same one.) And there was that face plant when I trained for the marathon.
The world says always show yourself strong— “Never let them see you sweat.”
I’ve learned to laugh at myself—whether others witness my misstep or not.
Is it embarrassing? Of course! And sometimes it’s quite painful.
Yet, like Jesus said to Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in [your] weakness” (ESV).
Ah, my weakness. From all those mishaps, it’s clear I have plenty of that.
But nothing shows off the grace of His power better.
My outward gaffes remind me of an inner truth. I stumble on the inside, too. If I were perfectly swanlike, I might mistakenly forget.
That would be the biggest blunder of all.
I DO need help. In fact, in my strongest moments, I’m still weak, especially compared to Christ.
I need His grace, His strength.
So, with Paul, “for the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (12:10, ESV).
Hey, if nothing else, those bumblings give me great “not-there-yet” fodder to write. (Case-in-point, my post, Did I Really Just Say That? –with all the crazy slip-ups that can come from my tongue.)
So, did I buy the boots? Nope. I left them on the shelf to go see how big the knot was on my noggin. Came back a few minutes later, and the boots were gone. Someone else beat me to it.
Probably because they knew enough not to kick themselves in the head with them.